Interview with Rebecca Rosenberg & Giveaway: The Secret Life of Mrs. London

Today is an exciting day at Passages to the Past! Now I welcome Rebecca Rosenberg, author of The Secret Life of Mrs. London! I had the chance to read an early copy and oh, dear readers, you are gonna love it! It's a fabulous read that I highly recommend you picking up.

Happy Book Release, Rebecca! I am thrilled to have you visit with us today.

What inspired you to The Secret Life of Mrs. London?

I live on a lavender field in Sonoma Valley, which Jack London named Valley of the Moon, and wrote 50 novels, including The Valley of the Moon. I have hiked or ridden horses over most of Jack and Charmian London’s Beauty Ranch, which is now Jack London Park. I was always inspired by their adventuring spirit and philosophy of living life to the fullest. When I discovered the Houdini love triangle with the Londons, I knew the story was too juicy to resist!

What was the hardest scene to write?

I can’t really tell you, because it is a major turning point in the novel. The scene that changes EVERYTHING for Charmian London and propels her to actions she would have never taken before. It changes her life forever.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Writing Houdini’s amazing feats of magic and escapes brought me back to that era of the early 1900’s when this astounding man created impossible tasks for himself, and performed them on the vaudeville circuit. Can you imagine what people thought when he was nailed into a crate with wrists and ankles shackled and thrown into the ocean to escape? Or what about when Houdini dangled from 30 story building, upsidedown, trussed into a straightjacket? Or made a 5 ton Jenny the elephant disappear before the eyes of 7000 people in the Hippodrome of New York City? Houdini was the most mysterious and brave man I have ever heard of.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Secret Life of Mrs. London?

There are some very provocative issues raised in The Secret Life of Mrs. London. I hope these issues will spur discussion and thought between readers. Some of the issues: Fidelity in a marriage that does not give you what you need. How much energy and time do you devote to your own goals versus your husband’s goals? What is it like to live with a driven genius like Jack London or Houdini? How far are you willing to go for love? What happens if you fall in love with your friend’s husband?

How much of The Secret Life of Mrs. London is fiction and how much is based on fact? 

I would say 95% is fact, meaning 95% of what happens in the novel really happened. I condensed the timeline from 5 years to 3 years to make it more exciting to read. Houdini is the mysterious one… he kept his feelings “close to the vest”, revealing only, that he “was having difficulty in his private affairs of late”. It was Charmian London who revealed the affair in her dairies. And even Bess Houdini, who discovered letters after Houdini died.

What began your fascination with Harry Houdini?

Who doesn’t love Houdini? Houdini is magic, mystery, courage, a mastermind of focus, in total command of his body, mind, and the awe he creates around him.

Did you find anything in your research that surprised you about Houdini or his life?

There are secrets revealed about the Houdinis in my novel that hardly anyone has known in the past. These secrets touched me to the core, and made me understand the Houdinis and why Charmian and Houdini had an affair.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

About 7 years ago, I started writing a novel about the Silver Queen of Colorado, Baby Doe Tabor, a story I knew as a child growing up in Denver. I was hooked! It is so gratifying to discover women who lived before us, that through pure gumption made something thrilling of their lives!

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

My challenge is making quiet time to write. I get up at 4am, light candles, make coffee and start to write before the day begins. Then I can hear what my characters want. They always want something impossible!

Who are your writing inspirations?

Lately, I’ve been inspired by my other Lake Union Authors who all balance the tightrope of writing a great novel, and having time to connect with readers! Oh, yeah, and there are families to pay attention to, also!

What was the first historical novel you read?

Gone With the Wind—my favorite novel of all time, which I could always reread.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I am reading many novels to get into 1800 France for my new novel, Champagne Widows. Madame Tussaud, by Michelle Moran, The Girl Who Fought Napoleon, by Linda Lafferty, Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb.

If there was a soundtrack for your novel, what songs might we find on it?

Scott Joplin, Ragtime!

What are three things people may not know about you?

1. I have a lavender farm in Sonoma Valley.
2. Our farm, barn and house burned in the Sonoma Fires in October, last year, just like Jack London’s Wolf House did!
3. We are replanting and rebuilding as we speak!

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love discovering women who have lived before us and paved the way for the freedom and opportunities we have today. I want to tell their stories, even if their stories raise uncomfortable issues.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I am traveling to the Champagne region of France to research my next novel, Champagne Widows! The story of the twenty four year old widow who, against her father, father in law, and Napoleon himself, preserved with her champagne winery to make it the most reknown champagne throughout Europe.

Oh wow, that sounds like a fabulous book! I cannot wait! Thank you so much for answering some questions for me. I will be posting my review of this book soon, and if you've read it and loved it, don't forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children's Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 30
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, January 31
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 1
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, February 2
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, February 5
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Planting Cabbages

Wednesday, February 7
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, February 8
Interview at Planting Cabbages

Friday, February 9
Review at Bookish

Sunday, February 11
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, February 12
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, February 13
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, February 14
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Thursday, February 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, February 16
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Monday, February 19
Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, February 20
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, February 26
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 27
Guest Post at My Reading Corner

Wednesday, February 28
Review & Giveaway at Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Thursday, March 1
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, March 2
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, March 5
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Bookish Beck


Passages to the Past is giving away a paperback copy of The Secret Life of Mrs. London! To enter, leave a comment below and please include your email address or alternate way to contact you if you win.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


  1. This captivating and fascinating novel interests me greatly. The era and the story is memorable and unforgettable. Thanks. saubleb9at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Interesting interview. I would love to read this book.
    I have visited Jack London's cabin in the Yukon. I have read most of his books.

  3. I would enjoy this wonderful book since I have read a great deal about Houdini, his life, his McGill Montreal visit which unfortunately contributed to his early death. His Jewish origins since I am Jewish and Jack London who was extremely talented. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. Sorry. My e-mail address is wrong. My fingers are not doing well today with RA. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Sounds amazing can't wait to read!

  6. I don't often read historical fiction so it's been really interesting to read this! I'm also grateful for the writing tips as I'm hoping to write my own book this year, though I think I'll struggle to get up so early!

  7. I'm a big fan of both Jack London and Harry Houdini. To have both of them in the same book is perfect for me. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  8. I look forward to reading this. It sounbds fascinating with Houdini and London himself.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  9. I named my hamster Houdini because I find this man fascinating and since I've also read a few of Jack London's books, this novel will be exciting to read. dhammelef(at)yahoo(dot)com


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